It’s all about the song and connecting emotionally with your listeners. While Elton John crafts his songs around the lyrics of his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, as an unsigned artist you’re likely to be writing both lyrics and melody. Everyone has their own approach to songwriting, so here are just a few tips you may find helpful.
Write as much as you can, as often as you can. In the same way as practising an instrument will help you improve, your songwriting skills will benefit from constant writing. And it’s highly unlikely that your first song will be a hit record – otherwise the charts would be 99% filled with break-up songs!
Get honest feedback from people whose opinion you value. You shouldn’t only rely on friends and family, but also someone who can be objective and can give constructive criticism. And don’t follow the example of the singer-songwriter who shut himself away in his studio for weeks to record an albums-worth of material, only to realise he’d produced a stinker when he unveiled it to his manager and record label executives.
Collaborate and experiment. Why not find a co-writer and write a couple of songs together – it’s a great way to stay motivated and explore different approaches. If you’re not in a band, you could gather some musician friends for a jamming session and just have some fun. It may help you relax and become more creative.
Feed your mind and your imagination. Listen a lot, learn from classic songs and analyse the elements that make them work. Dabble with different genres. If you’ve been writing pop songs, why not try listening exclusively to jazz for a while. This way you can end up bringing different elements into your music.
Although their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, apparently locked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in a room until they’d written their first songs for the Rolling Stones, this approach won’t work for everyone. If you get stuck, take a break or go out for a walk to take your mind off working on the same song for hours.
Last but not least, make sure you can record snippets of a song wherever you are – your mobile phone should have a record function and always carry a pen and paper – because you never know when inspiration will strike.
Good luck and we hope to hear your material soon on Spinnup! Don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org” if you’d like to share your experiences or advice on songwriting.